THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Updated: February 19, 2012 2:07AM
Dear Fixer: I responded to an ad on Craigslist for a two-bedroom apartment with hardwood floors. When I called the number, I got a company called Kelly Enterprises. The woman explained that I would pay an agency fee of $99.95 and her reps would find me a place in 14 days. This was on Oct. 14.
I gave her the money in cash and signed a contract. The contract stated that if the company could not find a place for me in 14 days, I would get my refund. It stated that when requesting a refund, it must be submitted in writing 24 hours before the expiration date. Nowhere did it state that you could not fax or e-mail your written request.
I asked when would I receive the listings of properties, and Danette Kelly said, “Oh, we will start e-mailing you the listings tonight.” That did not happen. I got one e-mail on Oct. 16. One property was an old listing I had researched weeks before. I thought that was odd and was having second thoughts. The other properties were not of my interest. I got another e-mail with places that I was not interested in.
At this point, I saw no use in the services, but due to the contract, I had to wait until within 24 hours of the expiration date or else I would not get my refund, because it would be considered a cancellation. I received no other assistance.
I called on Oct. 27 because I had questions about the refund and was told by Danette that another woman, Jae, would need to assist me. Danette sounded irritated. I asked when Jae would be available and was told that she would be in the office at 10 a.m. I was given a number to reach her. I called at 10 a.m. and the voice mailbox was full. I called the office and spoke with Danette again. A few hours later, Jae called and I explained that I was trying to give her my written request for my refund. She told me she couldn’t meet with me that day. I asked what I should do and she said, “You can do same-day delivery at the post office; that’s about $2.”
I went to two post offices and was looked at like I had a third eye on my forehead. They said that did not exist.
I went to their office Oct. 28 and handed Danette Kelly my request for a refund. She said Jae would get the letter Nov. 1, and that it takes two weeks to process. I waited a few weeks and was told my request was denied because it was received on the 28th, the contract expiration date.
I want my $99.95 back! Stevie Wonder could have done a better job finding me a place than this company.
Ketty Charles, Chicago
Dear Ketty: We don’t know about Stevie Wonder, but once you started shouting from the rooftops about this, your full refund was signed, sealed and delivered . . . at long last.
You wrote to The Fixer, filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and told your story on an online complaint forum. Team Fixer got on it right away and e-mailed Danette Kelly, the business’ chief executive, asking for a response. Soon after, you heard from Danette Kelly, who first offered half a refund and then apparently reconsidered and agreed to refund the full $99.95. (Danette never did get back to us with the reason behind your runaround.)
Your experience shows that sometimes the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the two-bedroom apartment . . . but can get its money back.
Score one for the feds
The Fixer hates hearing about already-overburdened homeowners sending their last penny to a fake “mortgage rescue” outfit who promised they’d help save their home. So we were happy to hear about last week’s Federal Trade Commission settlement in which five defendants involved with U.S. Homeowners Relief will have to pay judgments totaling $6 million and be banned for life from the debt relief industry.
The FTC said U.S. Homeowners Relief charged homeowners up to $4,250 apiece to supposedly reduce their mortgage payments, interest rates and loan amounts. But consumers complained that after they paid, they got nothing.
Litigation continues. For more on this case and tips for consumers to avoid mortgage scams, check out FTC.gov.
Contributing: Mike Nolan.
Getting the runaround over a consumer problem? Tell it to The Fixer at www.newssunonline.com, where you’ll find a simple form to fill out.